Pick-up Dogs How Two Rescue Dogs Save the West from Being Won

Pick-up Dogs
How to go about picking a dog

A friend of mine sent an email asking about how to go about adopting a dog. Good question. And it got me to thinking…

My friend had done some research at the local shelters and humane societies and he was keeping an eye out for a Boxer/Shepherd-like dog. Because he and his wife live with a cat, they wanted a cat-friendly dog, so he was thinking that an adult dog might be tricky and a puppy would be preferable. And he asked my thoughts on that question. Here was my response:

Your instincts are all right and you’re asking all the right questions before getting a dog. You’re asking the wrong guy, though. I was that guy who went totally unprepared to the shelter, not knowing the first thing about a dog or how much work and how many little quirks I’d have to look after every single day, got my heart broken when I saw all the dogs in the cages, and ended up taking home the wildest, craziest, most hyperactive, people-shy and animal-aggressive little critter that ever existed: Lupe.



When I got Marcos I broke every other rule in the book. Rather than deal with my first problem dog, I got a second dog to complicate matters.

Yet I have no regrets. The moral of the story is to get the dog that you can love. It’s one of those life rules. You don’t seek out your passion; you look for something to which you can give your passion. Because a dog will teach you to love and will need a lot of love.

Here are my thoughts on pups versus older dogs: I am partial to older dogs and my wife will give me a hard time for being fervently anti-puppy, so that’s my bias. And it’s a very strong bias so you can skip this paragraph if you don’t want to read it. But here’s how I reason. When I was looking for a companion for Lupe, I found an older dog named Sam. 6 years old, tried and tested, people-friendly and cat-friendly, just abandoned for some reason I can’t remember. He was perfect. And had been at the shelter for a while. People had walked by him looking for puppies. I went back to the shelter and some kind soul adopted Sam. I was relieved. But a little disappointed because he would have been the perfect mellow companion to calm down Lupe. But fortunately I met Marcos, who had been at the shelter for like 8 months. Which brings me to my second and third points. The average dog adopter goes looking for a puppy for the kids. When they discover how ridiculously difficult it is to take care of a puppy (going out every 2 hours to peepee and poopoo in the middle of the night…oh there goes my power adapter for my laptop…all chewed up…and my $200 loafers too), then they return that puppy to the pound. As much as Marcos would have been cute as a puppy, I’m glad I didn’t know him as a puppy and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to see Lupe as a puppy. Man, all the nights with my sleep interrupted would have worn on me.

Marcos Rolling

Marcos Rolling

My theory, also, is that Marcos is so awesome because he knows what it’s like to be abandoned, to be stuck in a shelter for 8 months, and be totally alone. He is so grateful for us. Every day he tells us in his own way that he is so happy to be with us. I forget what the numbers are, but there are some millions of dogs sent to die every year because they went unwanted. Yo snip your dogs people! Older dogs come with their quirks, but guess what…so do puppies. And if you get a puppy they won’t know how good they have it.

Lastly, a dog will choose you. Cheezy but true. The day I met Marcos, I had this crazy dream about him that night. The feeling was so strong–it just seemed natural that I go adopt him the next day, even though his first encounter with Lu (the test drive before adopting him) didn’t go so well. What I knew, though, was that I could love that dog. And love him I do–both he and Lu are like the best things to ever come into my life. Lu has taken work but she really is very good to work with now. It just took understanding her. All she wants, and all any dog wants is Time.

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